It won’t be long before strawberries will be ready for harvest in South Georgia. University of Georgia Extension encourages producers to scout for spider mites, especially as strawberries begin to ripen and bloom across the state.
The two-spotted spider mites are typically light yellow in appearance with a spot on either side of their abdomen. Their piercing-sucking mouthparts can cause damage while feeding on the plant cells. Scouting is important since feeding usually occurs on the underside of the leaf.
If left undetected, infestations can cause the leaves to become brittle with a bronze tint.
Early detection is important since this is the time that strawberries are most vulnerable. According to the UGA Extension Strawberry News blog, strawberries can tolerate higher numbers of spider mites as the season progresses. The threshold now for strawberries if five per leaflet. The threshold moves up to 20 further into the season.
The blog states, “There are several miticides on the market that work well on two-spotted spider mites. It is important to understand that some miticides are only effective on certain life stages. Using a product that is effective on eggs and juveniles will do no good if only adults are present.”
Complete coverage is critical since mites feed on the undersides of leaves. Rates of 50 and 100 gallons of water per acre are common for controlling mites.
UGA Extension advises farmers who need assistance or recommendations to call their local county agent.